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Delivering a healthy child successfully is quite an achievement for the mother as well as the child. The entire process of delivery takes a toll on both the mother and the child since it is extremely taxing on their bodies. At this stage, the mother is quite vulnerable since her immune system is at its weakest, with all the energy focused on delivering the child. The baby, on the other hand, is at a higher risk since he is just experiencing this world and all the new aspects of life for the very first time. Keeping them in a safe environment is absolutely important. Some, therefore, follow postpartum confinement. Read on to know more.
What Is Postpartum Confinement?
Postpartum confinement takes into account all of the necessary aspects following delivery. It keeps the mother and the child in a space that is beneficial for both of them. It can only be initiated if there is a support system in place, i.e., there are people to help the mother and the baby out. The confinement aspect comes into play where the mother is advised to stay within the confines of the home until she recovers her health and is hale and hearty. The family members take care of numerous activities and provide all the support the mother needs to take care of the baby.
How Long Is the Confinement Period After Giving Birth?
The confinement period is generally dependent on how well the mother and baby cope up with the recovery process. At times, a caesarean delivery could extend the days for quite a bit, especially if either of the two has faced complications during birth and need some more time to recover. A period of around 40 days is generally considered normal, to allow enough time for a mother to take care of herself.
In some areas, mothers don’t tend to believe in a specific confinement period as such and will resume their normal lives the moment they feel fine. This is generally the case with a lot of working mothers if their leaves aren’t sufficient, or they feel the need to get back to work as soon as possible.
What Are the Post Delivery Confinement Practices Followed in India?
The traditional practices for mothers vary from region to region across the country. On a general basis, the focus is placed on physical recovery and regaining the lost strength for both the mother and the child through a special diet that stimulates lactation, and timely nursing. Sticking to certain precautions to avoid any undue stress on the body is also followed. Read on to know more.
1. Postpartum Massage
The mother has gone through quite a lot physically and she needs some help to become healthy all over again.
- Most households tend to hire either a known traditional masseuse or a professional massage therapist who has the knowledge and the techniques needed for postpartum massage. A proper full-body massage using some healthy oils and warm water is recommended for the mother. It helps stimulate blood circulation in the body, and may also help with the belly and the stretch marks.
- The focus is generally on the back, waist and the hips as they have undergone a huge metamorphosis and a lot of stress during pregnancy and delivery.
- For women who have undergone caesarean delivery, a full body massage might not be ideal, and certain extra precautions might be advised by the doctor in this regard.
2. Baby Massage
Along with the mother, the baby himself requires massage as well. It is essential since It is the first time the baby is outside the womb, and his body needs to start developing the strength required to survive in the world.
- While mothers can start massaging their babies after delivery, some of them usually opt to do so once they feel better by themselves. Until then, local midwives or a family member can take over.
- The massage generally focuses on building strength in the baby’s muscles and keeping his bones healthy. Using the necessary baby oils to infuse that strength can be quite relaxing for your child and put him to sleep as well.
- Baby massage needs to be a daily activity for a long period while giving him his bath. Your baby might end up crying while he is getting a massage and, although that is usually observed, do take care that your baby is handled in a gentle manner.
- Traditional midwives have age-old massaging techniques that may seem rigorous. Although most midwives are well-experienced, if they are not careful enough, the baby could suffer physical injuries. Therefore, opt for gentle massaging only.
3. Indian Confinement Diet
The diet for a mother recovering from her delivery has to be nutritious without a doubt. There are certain food items that are mandatorily included in the diet to help the mother with her new phase of motherhood as well.
- Fennel seeds, as well as cumin seeds, are known to be beneficial in the postpartum phase. Eating a few fennel seeds takes care of the digestive system and provides the necessary strength. It may also help improving lactation. Drinking cumin water twice a day also helps on the same lines and keeps infections at bay.
- One of the simplest foods for a mother in the postpartum stage is generally khichdi. It is easy to digest since it has a semi-solid consistency, and is nutritious too as it includes several vegetables.
- Since the baby is dependent on the mother for nutrition via breast milk, the mother’s diet needs to contain enough vegetables, especially the green, leafy veggies, which help provide the nutrients to the baby via breast milk.
- Staying hydrated is also important at this time. Liquids are required in larger proportions since a lot of water is used to produce breast milk. Along with it, drinking hot milk and soups can be quite soothing for the mother. She can also sip coconut water occasionally.
- Traditionally made healthy ladoos are also important for new mothers. Usually, these ladoos have fenugreek to assist the growth of the baby. Gond laddoos are a must as they aid recovery. Numerous other types of healthy ladoos also help reduce body aches.
- Saunf or fennel is included in the diet as well. It is used as an ingredient to elevate the taste of Indian dishes, such as parathas. Drinking boiled water with saunf can help cleanse the uterus and aid faster recovering.
- Most households make sure that mothers have ghee at this stage as it provides a lot of nutrition to the baby and stimulates bowel movement in the mother. Remember, it should be consumed in moderation.
4. Maternity Confinement Rules
Some mothers may also follow certain traditions, such as:
- Using incense smoke while washing their hair.
- Refraining from sex for a fixed duration.
- Wearing warm clothes and covering the entire body.
- Staying away from household chores.
- Avoiding pointless television programmes or computer usage.
Postnatal confinement is rooted deeply in supporting the mother’s recovery after delivery. Some traditional aspects of the process might have been replaced in recent times, but most of the other conditions are extremely essential in ensuring that you return back to normalcy as soon as possible, and enjoy taking care of your baby.